Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Improv Troupe Member Talks the Funny Side of Furman

Courtesy of Furman Athletics

Mira Brody likes to be laughed at.

This was a discovery that she didn’t make until the second semester of her sophomore year at Furman. Now a junior, Brody is a Communications major who first heard about Furman’s improv comedy troupe, Improvable Cause, from a sorority sister. Since then, the group has become a central part of her life.

“Honestly, I hadn’t even really heard of it, then I went once and was like, I want to be best friends with these people.”

Brody continuously talked about the friendships she has formed through being a member of Improvable Cause. She said that the comedic connection was immediate.

“I think when I auditioned, I felt very comfortable quickly just because I felt like our sense of humor really vibed.” Beneath her thick-rimmed glasses and quiet certainty, Brody values collaboration and creative expression. Improvable Cause is a group that exemplifies both ideals. Their comedy shows tend to be topically relevant, incorporating campus happenings into their spontaneous humor.

Back in August, the troupe posted a promotional video to their Facebook page to advertise their first show of the year. The short clip showed Brody in black-and-white, gazing into the camera. As dramatic orchestral music played in the background, she spoke in a newscaster like voice.

“Improvable Cause will inevitably pass in totality through Daniel Recital Music Hall,” she said. As she continued to list the date and time of the show, improv partner Ben Gamble’s head slowly eclipsed the frame. He was wearing the Furman-provided solar eclipse glasses.

This tongue-in-cheek bit was topically relevant, coinciding with the Eclipse at Furman event that occurred during the same week.

“It’s free speech at the end of the day – free speech that people actually like hearing,” Brody explains. “I think we always end up bringing in kind of like a Weekend Update vibe, making fun of things that are relevant.”

Weekend Update is a Saturday Night Live segment that is famous for its commentary on current events. The segment consists of cast members acting as news anchors, delivering the news followed by satirical punchlines.

Improvable Cause differs from this format due to being completely spontaneous, however many Saturday Night Live alumnus started their careers in improv comedy.

One of these notable alumni is Tina Fey, one of Brody’s comedy heroes. Fey, she says, has paved the way for women in comedy by being the first female writer on the show. Another one of her influences is Sarah Silverman, who she calls “a fellow Jew” with endearment. She shifted in her seat, admitting that she had also been a fan of Louis. C.K.’s self-deprecating humor. However, after his recent sexual assault allegations, she can’t look at his work the same.

When asked about an especially memorable joke created by Improvable Cause, she mentioned Ben Gamble. She marveled at how he once performed a perfectly orchestrated monologue that took minutes to get to the punchline.

“I think it was like a six-minute set up for a punchline about a magician. At first we were like, ‘What are you talking about?’ and then we kept listening and it got closer and we were like, ‘Oh my god no, you’re not, you’re not.’ Then he dropped the punchline and it was amazing, because you knew that he had set up the whole thing from the beginning.”

Whether they’re poking fun at a campus-wide event, touching on an informal conversation topic such as the recent lice outbreak in residence halls, or playing various improv games such as “Rotation Triangle” and “Emo Quadrants”, Brody says it’s all about listening and relying on other members of the group.

“You’re not up there alone, it’s not stand-up. If you’re up there and have a kind of solo mindset and you want to set up punchlines for yourself, it’s not gonna work.”.

Brody seems to especially admire the comedy of others, always reflecting on her role in Improvable Cause as it relates to her peers.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I interact with people,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about just listening and being more present.”

She did not hesitate in explaining her relationship and connection to comedy, pausing only briefly before giving her succinct personal philosophy.

“Comedy for me is a way to express myself in a way where it’s acceptable for people to laugh at me.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Paladin

Your donation will support the student journalists of Furman University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Paladin

Comments (0)

All The Paladin Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *